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Another KLH refurb - Not speakers

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Found this cool KLH sign on ebay for what seemed like a good price compared to the one or 2 others I've seen. Of course when it arrived I found "issues."

These must have been dealers' signs back in the '60s or '70s. The sign lights up: The turquoise bars in the background flash on and off, and the "KLH" letters flash on/off and also sparkle!

On this one the background did not light at all and the KLH letters only came on--no sparkle :angry:

Opened it up. The background lights were no problem--they're just refrigerator type incandescent bulbs. I may replace them with A15 LED bulbs to cut down on the heat. The "sparkle" effect is produced by an odd looking bulb (obsolete projector lamp as it turns out) and a slowly-turning wheel. The light is transmitted to the KLH letters by fiber optics.

Two big issues: The motor did not work, and what if the projector lamp blows? The back says new bulbs are available from Fibre-Lite Displays, Inc. but they're long gone. The bulb is marked "Sylvania DJS 6v 30w" and after extensive searching I found one.....for 50 bucks! But further searching turned up a substitute: DKN 35w 6v. And an ebay seller had them for $10. I don't think the additional 5w will be a problem.

The motor is marked "Singer" (of course. So maybe this is from the '70s) "Model 414-173-20 115v 60Hz 3w 4RPM CCW". I was SURE I wouldn't find one of those! But.... Good ol' ebay to the rescue again! I found a Chinese seller who sells motors that "looked" a lot like the original. Metric of course but for $8.50 shipped I took a chance. This one is 4w and 5/6 RPM but close enough. And instead of a threaded shaft to hold the plastic wheel it had an internally-threaded shaft. This required some modification, but very little:

  • Cut the aluminum bushing on the wheel
  • Use a metric machine screw to affix the wheel to the motor
  • Because of the length of the motor's shaft I had to mount the motor on some spacers from my junk drawer.

Not bad. The new motor was otherwise a perfect fit, right down to the spacing of the mounting holes!

So that's it. First photo shows the Chinese & Singer motors. Second is the innerds "before" Third the innerds "after" and finally the sign lit up. Wish I could post a video here because it looks really cool!

-Kent

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Very cool! Maybe you could put up a video on YouTube, and link it here?

OK. My first attempt at posting on YouYube. We'll see how it turns out.....

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Agreed, very nice little vid, and thanks. Academy award nomination, Documentary category?

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Interesting. I decided to replace the two A15 appliance bulbs (upper left and right corners in the second and third photo above in Post #1) with LED bulbs to eliminate some of the heat. When I did, those bulbs remained lit--no flashing. Apparently whatever makes them flash is dependent on a temperature increase. I reinstalled the incandescent bulb on the right (first one in the circuit) and now the flashing works again, even with an LED in the other socket. That's good because the fibers tend to brush against that bulb and the LED is totally cold, so no chance of melting or scorching.

-Kent

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Way too many videos on YouTube are accompanied by obnoxious noise (music???).

Yours is a well recorded video which is very pleasant, relaxing and to the point.

YouTube posters could learn much from your post.

Well done!

BTW, your voice sounds like it belongs to a much younger man.

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Very cool sign and nice fix. After I read the first post I was going to ask for a video demo not knowing their would be instant gratification below. Modern dealer signs are lame compaired to this. I work at a home theater installation business and feel bad now for getting excited about our new Definitive Technology sign which was just their logo on a piece of black acrylic.

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Update:

As luck would have it I found another one of these signs. It worked but I had to mess with it¬†ūü§®

Someone had re-wired it so instead of the big projector bulb it used a little #82 auto bulb. There were some other minor issues: Transformer had broken loose, fiber-optic bundle was loose, glass front was loose. One interesting thing is that originally the other 2 bulbs were "KLH Turquoise" colored 10w incandescents. One works but the other did not survive shipping. I found some "ceramic green" 11w bulbs on ebay that may work.

The big problem is the projector lamp. I removed the auto bulb and socket and rewired the original 4-pin projector socket. I had a replacement projector bulb so I inserted it and plugged the sign in. The projector bulb smoked internally and never lit. Odd. The only difference here was switching the 2 wires from the auto bulb socket to the projector bulb socket. I don't really understand the circuit--there's a transformer but also a metal box.

So I temporarily switched back to the auto bulb. It works! Checked the voltage going to it and it's 5.9VAC. Tried hooking up a 12v halogen high beam and that works too but doesn't give much more light than the #82. Was the projector bulb bad? Could it be the projector bulb socket?? I don't want to risk smoking another $10 bulb. Is it possible the DKN isn't REALLY a replacement for the DJS? The DJS, btw, seems to be total unobtainium. Further investigation is needed before I blow another projector bulb! I may have to ask my favorite electronics technician to take a look at it.

edit: Tim is helping me with this. One initial thought was that since the xformer is making 6VAC, bulbs designed for DC (such as specialized automotive or LED) may not work. The combination of 6v AND AC makes replacing a bit of a quandry.

The photo shows the auto light (blue wires). Those originally went to the projector socket so I re-connected them. The DJS projector bulb in the photo also broke during shipping so I used a new old stock DKN projector bulb. To the right are the transformer and the unidentified metal box. My guess is that box may have something to do with the flashing turquoise lights. As mentioned above, those lights have to warm up before they will flash--LEDs won't work--there must be at least one incandescent. I also noticed the motor didn't turn until the thing was warmed up (while still using the auto bulb).

I really don't want to go back to the auto bulb because it isn't nearly as bright as the projector lamp.

Will post again when I have some answers.

-Kent

innerds.jpg

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They say when you hear hoofbeats, don't think "zebras!"

The DKN bulb that went kerflooey must have been defective. Ordered another and just to be safe tested it in Sign #1 by bringing it up on a Variac. Worked fine so I switched it to Sign #2 and again used the Variac. It's all good.

I replaced the broken turquoise 10 watt bulb with a "ceramic green" 11 watt. It works well but to me the flashing lights are too dim. I may go back to what I used in sign #1: One 15 watt white incandescent and one small LED. As I discovered with sign #1, the first flashing bulb MUST be incandescent or the bulbs won't flash. The 2nd bulb can be LED, which is good because the fiber-optic threads can lean on the bulb and the LED won't cause any melting.

The motor is a little temperamental. Maybe a little oil will get it going consistently. Otherwise I may need another Chinese microwave motor.

So there it is. Two cool KLH signs.

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Yes, very nice signs.

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